When Your Earth Quakes Yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” Habakkuk 3:18-19 My husband went out the door with not only shirts, pants and a toothbrush but also with life as I knew it. I went from together to alone. Homeschooling to commuting. Married to a pastor to divorced from one. And in the eyes of some, respected to suspected. On that day, the earth beneath my feet began to shake. Perhaps a significant life event has moved you from secure and safe to teary and trembling. A doctor says, “Cancer.” Suspicions about your child’s bad behavior are confirmed. A negative performance review appears in your work email inbox. Or maybe your earth begins to shake with one small tremor, followed by another, until things around you start to feel unfamiliar. In the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk received a message from God that shook his world. Habakkuk had been wondering why God seemed to turn a deaf ear to his pleas. How could God allow the violence and destruction in Judah to continue? How could God allow the nation to continue their evil ways? Surely, He would bring such wickedness to an end! But no. God was mobilizing an even greater source of evil. A fearsome enemy, far more heinous than Judah would ever be. Babylon, the epitome of depravity, was about to invade the little nation. The prophet’s response? “I trembled inside when I heard this …” says Habakkuk, “My legs gave way beneath me …” (Habakkuk 3:16). Habakkuk felt his fear, yet responded to his circumstances in faith. Whereas I too often pray a worried list of "God, what-ifs," Habakkuk prays a list of “God, You haves.” God, You have shown Your power and might. God, You have rescued Your people. God, You have fiercely defended those You call Your own. For Habakkuk, faith was not the absence of fear but a determination to trust. Even though the crops fail and the food runs out, even though the cattle die and the barns sit empty, even though all that Judah has relied on is gone, Habakkuk says, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights” (Habakkuk 3:18-19). Perhaps your present circumstances are causing you to tremble. Our fear does not mean we lack faith. It means the ground beneath us is shaking. It means that what is happening to us is legitimately scary. Don’t bother trying to force down your fear, muster up your courage or look on the bright side. In the face of real suffering, we need a real Rescuer. Along with Habakkuk, remember what God has done. Recite how God has worked in your life, in the lives of fellow believers and in the lives of those whose stories are recorded throughout the pages of Scripture. We can remember one thing Habakkuk could not — the cross. If you doubt God's ability to be trusted with your circumstances, look to the cross. In the cross, God is our ultimate Rescuer. If He can be trusted to save us from our sins, He can be trusted to save us through our circumstances. Habakkuk knew the Object of his faith. He knew God’s track record. God had proven Himself time and again. So even when the ground quaked with the rumble of enemy chariots, Habakkuk could rejoice, finding joy and strength in his God who would never fail. He will never fail us, either. God, I know I am safe in Your care. But despite what I know in my head, sometimes my heart feels anxious. Help me to focus my thoughts on You and not on my circumstances. Remind me of Your track record of faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Psalm 94:19, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” What circumstances have the greatest potential to overwhelm you? What evidence of God’s faithfulness have you seen in your life or the life of another believer?
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